Sunday, September 7, 2014

Eyes on Christ: Reflections on Being the People of God in the PC (USA) from my Heart to Yours (Book)

It is a strange story of an ecumenical, evangelical, reformed, protestant, and completely non-denominational person. Research and reading, prayer and discernment, and strong new relationships in Christ - beyond my local church - are critical pieces of this faith journey. This summer the Holy Spirit led me to compile the resources for the salvation of others. Like every Holy-Spirit led adventure in my life the words that describe the experience were also a gift. My brother, in Christ, wrote: "Congratulations on the launch of your discernment and reflection book! You were prepared for and called to it and answered the call." It is in the Spirit of the Living Christ that I humbly offer Eyes on Christ: Reflections on Being the People of God in the PC (USA) from my Heart to Yours.

The 160-page book is available from Amazon in Kindle digital and print editions. Eyes on Christ is a book that essentially wrote itself. I definitely did not plan on writing it! In May 2014, my church decided to go into discernment regarding our denominational affiliation with the PC (USA). My personal discernment had started a whole year earlier when I joined the Strategic Coordinating Team of the Council to Presbytery of Los Ranchos.

~13 letters from trusted leaders in our Presbytery and ~27 other pieces of writing in genres such as the historic faith statements and confessions, communal discernment guidelines, devotionals, Bible study, and prayer are included. I use the metaphor of “love-letters”  to describe this book for many reasons. The motivation for writing it, the way in which the book came together inadvertently, unplanned, is a testament to God's steadfast love. I also saw a lot of hurting people as the first 10 churches and 1 new worshiping community in our presbytery went through the motions of discernment and dismissal with property. The Spirit's pain at the faithful's suffering became my own; in the writings and speeches of those who pleaded to #staypcusa I found passionate prayers and sacrificial offerings. These reflections, thus, are also a loving correction of many of the grave misunderstandings about the PC (USA). Despite the charges of those requesting to leave, all those who are staying in the PC (USA) love God and seek to be in right relationship with him; it is not because they love the PC (USA) as they are often accused. It is because they love Jesus, a Jesus who is not a mythical God of militant power but the young man who was born to a lowly family among an oppressed people. A radical, counter-cultural and smart young man who talked of love and lived in love, died for love, and triumphantly rose again. Jesus preached the good news of God's love for us and showed us a way we could live in peace with the poor and the sinners. We see our aching world through His eyes and want to love and obey like Him. Yes, it is true that there are pastors (and others) in the PC (USA) who abuse their privileges but isn't that part of our fallen human condition? It may even be a part of the congregations' failure to provide proper spiritual care for their spiritual leaders! We do Jesus a dis-service when we set up the PC (USA) as a straw man and demonize the denomination. We are all the PC (USA). Eyes on Christ is also an exploration of the spiritually rich resources the PC (USA) and its agencies such as the Presbyterian Mission Agency offer. Tools for daily spiritual life – Examen, Lectio Divina, Mutual Invitation and more - are included. The Presbytery dismissal process of June 2013, understandings and misunderstandings about it are described. The book is meant to be used as a devotion and reflection for 40 or more days of prayer, discernment and Scripture, sample covenant for spiritual growth.

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Presbytery of Los Ranchos for the benefit of Pravaham/On Fire, a ministry to young marginalized, oppressed women (aged 16 - 22) in rural South India.

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